Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Advantages of Mediation?
Help with the complexity: The law has become increasingly complex and you may find that you cannot, or do not want to represent yourself and need professional help when you separate or divorce, have disagreements regarding elder care, trust administration or with your family-held business.Financial and tax issues can be complicated, and few non-lawyers are fully aware of all the issues that need to be considered.
Emotional issues and communication problems can make direct, unassisted negotiations between you and your family very difficult. Yet, the traditional adversarial system is expensive, often public, sometimes slow, and can distance you and your family even further by the positional bargaining that is the basis of the traditional system. This also significantly reduces your chances to talk directly with each other.
- Understanding the law: Karen Russell is an experienced family lawyer and will help you understand the legal issues and guide you through the settlement process. Although she is neutral, Karen is a licensed attorney and does give you a lot of legal overview information designed to help you in your decision-making process.
- Lower costs: You and your family member(s) and/or spouse share mediation costs rather than individually paying for two opposing attorneys. Russell Mediations does require each of you to have a consulting attorney.
- Faster than court: Karen can answer questions as they arise and offer various options that you might want to consider in reaching a resolution. Because she meets with you and your spouse and/or family member(s) simultaneously, issues are resolved more quickly. You, rather than the court system or process, set the pace at which the mediation proceeds. Most importantly, you can work directly with your spouse or other family members to create an agreement that works for you and your family.
When is Mediation Inappropriate?
- Mistrust: When you do not believe your spouse or family member(s) will participate in mediation in an open and transparent manner or in good faith.
- Violence and/or abuse: If you have experienced emotional, psychological, verbal or physical violence in the relationship that makes it impossible for you to be in the same room as your spouse or family member, you may be better served by another process.
- You tend to “give in” to avoid conflict: If you are inclined to give in to everything your spouse or family member requests, either out of guilt, fear or the hope of reconciliation, mediation may not the best choice. If I see this happening in mediation, it is my duty to terminate the process.
Why do I Need a Consulting Attorney?
We require that all mediation clients choose a consulting attorney to have the final agreement or Memo of Understanding reviewed. Consulting attorneys give you legal advice or assistance during the mediation process and they support you during the process. After you reach a resolution, and a formal agreement or contract is drafted, you must review the agreement with your consulting attorney to make sure that you understand the legal significance of the agreement and the ramifications of your decisions. This adds greater assurance that the Agreement is complete and properly expresses your understanding of the mediated settlement. The extent to which you speak with your consulting attorney during the mediation process itself is entirely your choice.
What is the Cost of Mediation?
There is no way to predict the cost of mediation in advance because it is directly related to the complexity of the issues and the motivation and ability of you and your family member or spouse to work together to resolve them.
It is generally safe to say that a mediated agreement will cost less than one litigated or negotiated by traditional attorneys (the adversarial process).
Out-of-pocket expenses such as filing fees, appraisals, and other professionals’ fees are charged in addition to mediator time. The total cost will depend a lot on you and your willingness to work together and compromise.
Here at Russell Mediations, you have payment options for Mediation services. You may pay a deposit into the client trust account, which is NOT a guarantee of the total cost nor is it a flat fee, or, you may pay as you go.